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The Maastricht Diplomat

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One more game wouldn’t hurt anyone, right?

Welcome to the second period  in Maastricht University; where the strife for academic excellence continues. That means visits to the library, the dreaded 08.30 morning classes and the preparation of study materials for the next tutorial. We all know the saying: “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”, so studies aside, it is also important to relax! Everyone has different ways to unwind. Some prefer being outdoors, hanging out with friends or social drinking; the UNSA way. While others like being in the comforts of home, surfing the internet, snoozing or maybe you’re like me, playing video games!

There have been controversies about video games. Stigmas include “video games being a waste of time”, “video games make people socially awkward”; and the all-time favourite, “video games cause violence”. Sometime last year, the World Health Organisation even recognised gaming addiction as a mental health disorder. This  occurs when someone has “significant issues with functioning” due to the addiction. Gamers rise up! Let’s take a look at what’s happening recently.

If you are into online multiplayer games, you might have noticed less Chinese players appearing in your matches. In an attempt to curb video game addiction, China has recently imposed a curfew on gamers under the age of 18. These players are only allowed to play online games for 90 minutes on weekdays and are forbidden from playing between 10pm and 8am. On weekends and public holidays, they will be allowed to play up to 3 hours a day. In addition, gamers aged 8-16 can only spend 200 yuan (€26) a month, while those between 16 and 18 can spend a maximum of 400 yuan (€52) on their gaming accounts.

China is one of the world’s largest gaming markets (obviously), and has constantly criticised the negative impacts video games can have on young adults. Blaming myopia and other visual impairments on the increase in mobile phones and online games. This is similar to how Walmart removed all violent video games from their stores while leaving guns to be purchased in an attempt to decrease  violence just a few months ago. There are not enough scientific facts to justify their reasoning! What could be a motive of the Chinese Government to implement these gaming curfews then?

A stereotypical Asian grew up with the mentality; “I want to be the very best”. Be it in video  games, studying or even queuing up for food. They would want to come first. In the application of games, it would boil down to: “I want to place rank one  in my server” for hardcore gamers, and the means to achieve it is really simple; using the most powerful card: The credit card. Obsessed teenagers who do not have a strong conceptualisation of money begin splurging, only to gain temporal gratification from an online  game which they will eventually get bored of. In an attempt to stop children from contributing to the gaming economy with their parent’s hard-earned money, the government had to implement  sanctions.

As an avid gamer myself, I love exploring the mechanics of a game. I enjoy the story as it eases  me into the world of the game. Games are a great way to relieve stress and express your logical-thinking ability. But there are times I get so engrossed in video games that I lose track of time! This affects my daily performance as I become less responsive and basically, tired all the time.

To prevent this, I set an alarm to allocate a reasonable time spent on gaming, rather similar to China’s curfew. Developing an obsession for games, is detrimental, especially for  younger minds. So, to all gamers out there, remember to play in moderation and know your limits! 

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